After noticing a pressing need from their children and other parents, area moms Buffy Lee Porter and Staci Silva came together to create Goodness Graces, a program to teach children manners and social skills. Classes offered through Goodness Graces cover topics such as polite introductions, expressing gratitude, good sportsmanship, building confidence, and proper dining behavior.
“We just really saw a strong demand for kids to learn social skills and manners. We both have kids, and we’re around kids often. Sometimes children just need a little help building their skills in society, and it really benefits everyone in the end,” said Silva.
One of the most popular classes so far has been Netiquette, a class on web etiquette and safety. Porter said that many parents are concerned for the safety of their kids online and are worried about the long-term results of being so engaged in social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. “We basically teach kids that what you post will always be there and be accessible to anyone. We also really emphasize not becoming friends with people you don’t know, and appropriate times to be on those sites,” explained Porter.
“It is vital to teach them dangers of over-sharing information. One of the biggest things we focus on is really pausing before posting; we just want to make sure that they read what they’re doing and make sure they are not sending the wrong message,” said Silva.
Silva added that other popular offerings include the Confident and Kind series, Just for Teen Girls, Family Matters, and Being a Gentleman.
“We haven’t actually held a Being a Gentlemen class yet, but from the registration so far, I think it’s looking extremely promising. I’m really looking forward to teaching the boys some of those long-lost gentlemanly qualities,” said Silva.
The feedback from kids, parents, and even area businesses has been very positive, said Porter: “We’ve had a lot of kids who were just really quiet and introverted. Their parents wanted them to know how to introduce themselves and feel comfortable in a social setting, and now those kids are coming back to tell us how much the classes have helped them.”
In addition to social-skills courses for younger children, Goodness Graces offers practical life-skill lessons, such as interview preparation, test-taking skills, basic checkbook skills, organization, and basic sewing classes for teens.
“We really want to give children all the skills they need to be a successful person at any age,” said Porter.
Parents can view a full description of all courses and register their children for classes online at goodnessgraces.net.